An Ohio coroner is standing by her conclusion that Ariel Castro committed suicide, despite a bombshell report that suggests the convicted kidnapper may have accidentally died while pleasuring himself.
"The totality of the whole case and the circumstances of the investigation do not suggest autoerotic asphyxiation," Dr. Jan Gorniak, the Franklin County Coroner, told the Huffington Post.
On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction released an 11-page document stating that Castro may have died while pleasuring himself by restricting oxygen to his brain. The report said that Castro's pants and underwear were pulled down around his ankles when he was found dead in his prison cell on Sept. 3.
Gorniak said that she was never informed of this detail and first heard of it when approached by media.
Gorniak said she was never told that Castro was found hanging with his pants at his ankles. But she said that likely is not relevant because his clothing might have shifted in his death throes. Gorniak said she found no semen in her autopsy of Castro’s body.
She also believes the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction overstepped its bounds in conducting the assessment.
"It is our job to determine cause and manner of death … I don't think anyone outside of the coroner's office should have an opinion on the manner of death. That's not their job."
The report also found that guards responsible for monitoring Castro failed to check on him at least eight times during the day and night before his death, instead forging log book entries to cover their tracks.